A Ghost Story in Twelve Short Chapters
By: Gregg Lagambina

Chapter 2.

The first time I see her she's a smile and a wave from the open door of a yellow cab. Chan Marshall, Cat Power, fittingly maritime in her gold-buttoned blue blazer, grey sweatshirt, blue jeans and white boating shoes. Miami, South Beach. As the driver taps the wheel, Chan bites a fingernail and runs down a half-dozen options for our destination, offering new choices the whole ride as we eventually head toward the dark, modern Japanese place where she's greeted with hugs and wide smiles from two hostesses and a pair of waiters. We reject a table offered in the corner by a fire exit. Actually, I reject it and she looks uneasy as we head to the opposite corner, where she sits facing the rest of the room. She laughs lightly as we settle in and says, "I've never done this before. I've never sat facing all these people."

At her request, I'm not to record a word this evening. She refers to "work through" this first meeting so any official interviews later won't be with a total stranger. A green bamboo cylinder full of dry, cold sake arrives, we pour out two drinks into the matching wood cups. Here she taps me on the shoulder, holding her sake in mid-air telling me to look her in the eyes. We cheer each other and she brings the cup down with a sound to the table and says, ''To those who can't be with us'' and swallows it back. ''I learned that in Greece,'' she says.

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